When Bob Kane first designed Batman's costume, his idea behind Batman was more similar to Hawkman than anything else, in the sense that he saw the character as literally flying like a bat via Bat-like wings. Incidentally, Kane was influenced by some of Leonardo Da Vinci's designs of a theoretical flying machine. Kane's collaborator, Bill Finger, told Kane that he should make the wings a cape instead. In addition, while Kane was thinking a red costume, Finger told him to go darker instead.

Many of the major Batman storylines since the 1990s have been inter-title crossovers that run for a number of issues. In 1993, the same year that DC published the "Death of Superman" storyline, the publisher released the "Knightfall" storyline. In the storyline's first phase, the new villain Bane paralyzes Batman, leading Wayne to ask Azrael to take on the role. After the end of "Knightfall", the storylines split in two directions, following both the Azrael-Batman's adventures, and Bruce Wayne's quest to become Batman once more. The story arcs realign in "KnightsEnd", as Azrael becomes increasingly violent and is defeated by a healed Bruce Wayne. Wayne hands the Batman mantle to Dick Grayson (then Nightwing) for an interim period, while Wayne trains to return to his role as Batman.
Vicki disappeared from the Batman comics when Julius Schwartz took over the editorial office of Batman in 1964, but she was eventually reintroduced in the early 1980s, brought back by Gerry Conway. Unfortunately, this idea proved ill-advised as Vicki's character was not developed and instead, it was simply a modern take on the same old concept of learning Batman's secret identity. Writer Doug Moench was mainly responsible for slowly removing Vale from Batman's love life after he took over from Conway, but she has since been used as a recurrent love interest for Bruce Wayne by many other writers. Most recently, in Bruce Wayne: The Road Home, Vicki finally got proof of Batman's identity, but she kept it to herself and became a confidant and ally of the Batman family rather than a love interest of Bruce Wayne.
The original bat suit of Ben Affleck from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice has one glaring flaw that needs to be pointed out. Once again, the movies have taken away the character's ability to effectively turn his head. After The Dark Knight trilogy, it would have been nice to never have to see another full-on cowl that is attached down to the actor's shoulders. But hey, we can’t always have what we want, especially when there is a reason for it.

In 2005, Batman Begins was released by Warner Bros. as a reboot of the film series; directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale as Batman. Its sequel, The Dark Knight (2008), set the record for the highest grossing opening weekend of all time in the U.S., earning approximately $158 million,[177] and became the fastest film to reach the $400 million mark in the history of American cinema (eighteenth day of release).[178] These record-breaking attendances saw The Dark Knight end its run as the second-highest domestic grossing film (at the time) with $533 million, bested then only by Titanic.[179] The film also won two Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for the late Heath Ledger.[180] It was eventually followed by The Dark Knight Rises (2012), which served as a conclusion to Nolan's film series.

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In September 2011, DC Comics' entire line of superhero comic books, including its Batman franchise, were canceled and relaunched with new #1 issues as part of the New 52 reboot. Bruce Wayne is the only character to be identified as Batman and is featured in Batman, Detective Comics, Batman and Robin, and Batman: The Dark Knight. Dick Grayson returns to the mantle of Nightwing and appears in his own ongoing series. While many characters have their histories significantly altered to attract new readers, Batman's history remains mostly intact. Batman Incorporated was relaunched in 2012–2013 to complete the "Leviathan" storyline.

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A photographer/reporter, Vicki Vale was initially introduced as a woman smart enough to expose Batman's secret identity. In this quest, she became involved with Bruce Wayne, as she suspected him of being Batman and she was determined to find evidence. Her character has undergone few changes over the years, and many elements of her original characterization have remained.
Harley Quinn: Best known as "The Joker's Girlfriend", Harley has had occasional romantic encounters with Batman, most notably her kiss with him in the episode Harley's Holiday from Batman: The Animated Series. Recently, in the The New 52, there have been a couple of stories in which Harley became infatuated either with Bruce Wayne or Batman. These attractions appear to be entirely one-sided and Batman has shown no signs of attraction towards Harley.

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